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Music legend Jeanne Arland Peterson dies at 91; Tao Lin to read from ‘Taipei’

ALSO: Arts Board grants no longer for travel outside MN; ‘The Hunger’ at the Trylon; David Housewright presents “The Last Kind Word”; and more.

Pianist, singer, and Minnesota music legend Jeanne Arland Peterson released six albums.
Photo by Andrea Canter

Pianist, singer, and Minnesota music legend Jeanne Arland Peterson has died, just two months shy of her 92nd birthday. She spent all those years in Minnesota and 89 of them making music. Peterson started playing piano at age 3, had her first paying gig as a teenager, and worked for 22 years in the WCCO Radio house band and three years as organist for the Twins, taking over for her husband, Willie, when he died in 1969. She played all around the Twin Cities and released six albums; the latest, “88 Grand,” came out in 2009, her 88th year. She recorded several tracks for a seventh last fall. All five of her children are musicians – singers Linda and Patty, bassist Billy, keyboardist Ricky, and multi-instrumentalist Paul (St. Paul) – as are several of her grandchildren.

Peterson’s last public performance was in December at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. That event was announced as her official retirement, but we didn’t believe it; we didn’t want to believe it. We hoped to share more birthday cake and music with her at the Artists’ Quarter or the Dakota. For her brilliance at the piano, and her impeccable swing; the example she set for all musicians, especially women; her unflagging spirit and her sweetness, Jeanne Arland Peterson will be missed. She was one of a kind.

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The McKnight Foundation has awarded 59 grants totaling nearly $11 million to 55 arts organizations including Coffee House Press ($150,000), Commonweal Theatre Company in Lanesboro ($50,000), Forecast Public Artworks ($250,000), IFP Minnesota ($120,000), In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre ($140,000), the Jungle Theater ($100,000), Park Square Theatre ($75,000), the Cedar ($100,000), the Loft ($600,000), Theater Latte-Da ($80,000), Walker Art Center ($375,000 and $25,000), and Zeitgeist ($50,000). Most grants are for general operating support. Go here for a complete list of grantees in the arts.

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Several Twin Cities organizations have received Jerome Foundation grants, it was announced Monday. Mu Performing Arts: $45,000 to support its Mu/Jerome New Performance program. Mixed Blood Theatre: a two-year grant of $15,300 to commission, develop and produce new works by emerging playwrights. The Cedar Cultural Center: $21,200 to commission new works by seven emerging Minnesota composers for its 416 Club Series. Zeitgeist: $33,000 for its composer workshop. Juxtaposition Arts: $8,000 for the development and production of a new work by choreographer Kenna-Camara Cottman. Intermedia Arts: a two-year grant of $107,000 in support of grant programs for literary artists. The Jerome Foundation also approved a set-aside of $113,000 for the Minnesota Film and Video Program in fiscal year 2013-14. And it gave the Minnesota Council on Foundations a membership and general support grant of $5,555.

Minnesota artists applying for Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB) grants for fiscal years 2014 and 2015 should plan on staying close to home. Due to legislative decisions that took place late in the budgeting process, Arts Board grants can no longer be used to pay for travel outside of Minnesota. Nor can they be used to bring people here from somewhere else. Here’s the official language. MPR’s Marianne Combs has responses from artists here and here.

It seems this change is due in part to an article by Tom Steward headlined “Minnesota artists travel the world at taxpayer expense” that appeared on the Watchdog Minnesota blog in mid-March. Featuring a photograph of someone (presumably not a Minnesota artist) skydiving over Tahiti, the article noted that “dozens of artists [are] traipsing the globe on state taxpayer dime.” Watchdog prepared a clickable map showing “some of the trips your tax dollars supported, for the years 2013, 2012, and 2009.” Apparently this was all too much for enough Minnesota legislators, and the ax fell. We believe these new restrictions are provincial, small-minded and petty, and that they reflect poorly on us as a state. Travel broadens the mind and teaches many things, including compassion and the awareness that we’re not alone in the world and other people might have contributions worth considering. Our culture here is enriched by ideas from outside our borders.

Here’s something you won’t see every day: an intimate acoustic rehearsal with Art Garfunkel at the relaxed and intimate Cedar. Limited to 250, the event will include songs, anecdotes, prose and a Q&A session. Not recommended for children under 10. Saturday, July 6. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8. Seating is first-come, first-served. Tickets here ($40).

The 25th Annual Minnesota Book Awards gala was so much fun, and the Historic Union Depot in downtown St. Paul is so hot, that the Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library have already booked next year’s gala at (where else) the Depot. Save the date: Saturday, April 5, 2014.

Among the many new attractions at this year’s State Fair: pop-up art. “Arts A’Fair” will bring drumming, dance, theater and music to locations throughout the fairgrounds – here one minute, gone the next. Performers will include COLLIDE Theatrical Dance Company, History Theatre, In the Heart of the Beast, Mu Performing Arts, University of Minnesota Centennial Showboat (of those wonderful summer melodramas), and Zorongo Flamenco.

bakken trio
Courtesy of the Bakken Trio
The Bakken Trio

The Bakken Trio (Stephanie Arado, violin; Judy Lin, piano; Mina Fisher, artistic director) has announced its 2013-14 season, a series of three concerts at MacPhail, whose Antonello Hall is one of the best music venues in the cities. October 13: Clarinetist David Krakauer joins the trio for Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov’s “Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind,” written for Krakauer and the Kronos Quartet. With Shostakovich’s Fourth String Quartet and Copland’s Vitebsk Piano Trio. February 16, 2014: Music by Ginastera, Piazzola, Golijov and de Falla, with soprano Christie Hageman, seen (and heard) this spring in the Minnesota Opera’s “Turandot.” April 13: Sonatas by Debussy and Ravel and the Fauré Piano Quartet in C minor. FMI and tickets here ($40-$45 season, $25-$15 door) as soon as the website is updated; check back.

The Riverview Wine Bar in Minneapolis has featured live music for 15 years, but last week the city of Minneapolis pulled the plug. (Actually, not much of a plug; music at the Riverview has been acoustic and small-group jazz.) Suddenly it seems the Riverview is not zoned properly for more than one acoustic musician at a time. We learned the news when jazz bassist Richard Kronick sent out an email Thursday saying his Friday quartet gig had been canceled. Jazz guitarist Zacc Harris’s trio has played at the Riverview every Sunday for the past six years. “We believe that it is the longest running weekly jazz gig in town,” Harris wrote on facebook, “and we are all devastated to lose such a wonderful thing due to an archaic technicality.” Harris has launched a facebook page and a blog and is asking people to contact their city council members. 

Quick takes on two things we saw and liked over the weekend, in case you want to catch them before they end:

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“Herocycle” at the Old Arizona Theatre. An evening-length version of a performance piece that played to sold-out houses during the 2008 Fringe, “Herocycle” asks, “What happens when Evel Knievel crashes into Joseph Campbell?” Writer and director Kim Longhi started out thinking that Knievel was “an idiotic daredevil, an egomaniac.” Somewhere along the way, she fell in love. “Herocycle,” which takes place as much in the air as on the ground and features live music, makes us rethink our notions of heroism and what it means to follow our bliss. Now, Kim, what about Nik Wallenda? Through Saturday, June 29. FMI and tickets.

herocycle photo
Photo by John Whiting
“Herocycle” at the Old Arizona Theatre

“The Very Unlikeliness (I’m Going to KILL You!) [again&again version]” at the Bryant Lake Bowl Theater. Watching real-life couple Chris Yon and Taryn Griggs dance their astonishingly precise pas de deux is like reading hieroglyphics. It’s all about gesture – a myriad of gestures, quick, sharp movements, and moments when the two are nose-to-nose (in tenderness or warning?). Their stoic, almost expressionless faces, the costumes (black with white piping), the mysterious title, and the soundtrack (a combination of pop music, noise, what might be giant balloons being squeezed, and a lesson in touch typing) come together in a 45-minute piece that’s over too soon. Yon is the choreographer and soundtrack creator, but clearly they’re in this together. Through June 30. FMI and tickets.

Our picks for the week

Tonight at the Children’s Theatre: “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” The 2008 CTC hit is back for a new batch of little ones. Peter Brosius directs and company members Reed Sigmund and Dean Holt star in a silly, noisy physical comedy about a boy (Sigmund) and a mouse (Holt) who make a mess. By Jody Davidson, based on the book by Laura Joffe Numeroff. For grades Pre-K and up. Through July 21. FMI and tickets ($45.50-$25.50). Run time is 90 min., including intermission.

give a mouse a cookie
Courtesy of Children’s Theatre Company
Tuesday at the Children’s Theatre: “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

Tonight at Magers & Quinn: David Housewright presents “The Last Kind Word.” Crime fiction writer David Housewright has won the Edgar Award and the Minnesota Book Award (twice), and he lives right here in St. Paul. “The Last Kind Word” is the latest in his popular McKenzie series, featuring a former detective from the St. Paul Police Department who’s also a millionaire and an unlicensed PI. 7 p.m., 3038 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. Free.

Wednesday at the Trylon: “The Hunger.” Drop-dead gorgeous vampires Miriam (Catherine Deneuve) and John (David Bowie) prowl New York City nightclubs in search of victims. When he does the unforgiveable and starts to age, Miriam needs a new friend, and in walks Susan Sarandon. The Trylon has this 1980s cult classic filed under Trash Film Debauchery for good reason. Don’t bring the kids. 7 p.m., 3258 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis. FMI and tickets ($5).

Wednesday at Paper Darts’ Storefront for Storytellers: Tao Lin reads from his new novel, “Taipei.” This summer, in partnership with SooLOCAL, Paper Darts has transformed a South Minneapolis storefront gallery into a celebration of art and literature. The six-week project features writers, sculptors, publishers, illustrators, comic artists, musicians, poets and more. “Taipei” follows Paul from New York to Taiwain, where he confronts his family’s roots. Presented with Common Good Books, followed by a Q&A with Jay Gabler of the Daily Planet and the Tangential. 7 p.m., 3506 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis. Free.

Wednesday at the Cedar: Femi Kuti & The Positive Force. Fela’s son is on tour with his latest studio album, “No Place for My Dream,” the follow-up to his Grammy-winning “Africa for Africa.” Worldwide Discoteque DJs Brian Engel and Dan MacAllister open. A standing show, better for dancing. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8. FMI and tickets.

Thursday: “Exhibition: Munch 150.” If the closest you’ve come to work by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch is a mousepad of “The Scream,” this tour of a major exhibition from the Munch Museum & National Gallery in Oslo will solve that problem. Filmed in HD, it screens at 10 Minnesota theaters. 7:30 p.m. Locations and links.